Us Moms, we love ourselves some swim skirts. I say this, because every time I'm at the pool, the moms in swim skirts are out in force. And I get the appeal. After baby, there's just a bit more cellulite, a bit of softening, a bit of droop. Yes. But swim skirts are tricky - they are hardly the panacea of mom-friendly swimwear.
J.Crew's tulle swim skirt (pictured at left) is one of my very favorite swim skirt options. To keep it mom-friendly, I'd pair it with a simple solid color halter top instead of the bandeau top. Unfortunately...most of the swim skirts at the pool are not nearly this cute. What makes the difference? (Hint - it's not the tulle)
What Swim Skirts Are
- A great way to cover-up any bum issues: cellulite on bum, a droopy, saggy bum
- Modest -- a great way to provide more bum coverage when bending and chasing around the little one
What Swim Skirts Are Not
- Something that will camouflage all lower body issues: cellulite and stretch marks on legs, big hips and thighs
- Something that will fool others into thinking that underneath that skirt, she has hidden a smoking-hot pair of skinny, perfectly toned legs.
The key to getting a swim skirt right is proportion. A swim skirt must look like - gasp - actual swimwear. Which means that the bottom of the skirt must hit right below your bum. Any longer and you will look like a little old lady in her swim dress. No matter how bad you think your lower body issues are.....a too long swim skirt will make your overall appearance worse.
The Twister Dot Bikini by Coco Rave, $100 at Nordstroms.com, pictured at left, is a great example of a swim skirt that will help hide a saggy bum, but still give you a youthful, sexy look.
Tip 2 - Keep 'Em Tight
In general, swim skirts should not swish around when you walk. They need to fit fairly tight to your body. Not so tight as to appear to be a sausage casing, but tight (and short) enough to require built-in bikini bottoms underneath.
The bottom line? If your swim skirt is long and flowy enough to swish like an actual skirt...then it's an actual skirt. Aka...your cover-up.
Juicy Couture's Halter Bikini Top and Skirted Bottom (pictured at right) is another perfect example of a well-executed swim skirt. You would never mistake this swim skirt for an actual skirt. This set can be purchased at Nordstroms.com for a grand total of almost $200...but please keep in mind that your swim separates need not match. Pairing this skirt ($98) with a simple black (or white!) halter top from Target or Old Navy would be adorable.
Tip 3 - Balance Them Out with the Right Top
Because swim skirts are fairly modest, they simply look better with a bikini top. And if you choose to stick with a slightly longer swim skirt, then it's imperative that your top be just a wee bit more revealing.
I don't love J.Crew's longer swim skirt (pictured at left), but if you do, pair yours with a small sculpted top (as shown - but find one with a detachable halter)...or just choose a small string top or tie halter.
Even Tommy Bahama's loose fitting swim skirt is....well, not bad, with the right top (pictured at right). This skirt would be a disaster with a tankini, however.
If you had your heart set on a tankini top & swim skirt combo....it can be done, but it's essential to find the right tankini. You'll need something that shows more skin than the average tankini to offset the coverage of the swim skirt. Look for tankinis with plunging necklines, or a little sex appeal. Marc Jacob's Ruffle One-Shoulder Tankini might work (pictured at left).
One final word of caution: if you are looking for a tankini - skirted bottom to completely camoflauge your post-baby body...you might be better off in a sexy one-piece suit with a great cover-up. More on those later...
The good news? There are a ton of completely practical yet totally sexy swim skirt options for moms. I had the best luck at the big department stores: Nordstroms, Bloomies, Macy's. Here are a few of my favorites:
First of all, please ignore the weird jungle themed/pouty-faced model. They take away from this very fabulous suit. This suit, actually, is our contributing author J's new suit. Going to the pool with J in this suit was like going to the pool with a rock star. There were stares, gasps, and J couldn't go two feet without someone rushing up: "Where did you get that suit???" I kid you not. This suit is fabulous for moms. Yes, J does have a great body...but she is still a mom, dealing with sags, bags, and cellulite just like the rest of us. Her suit is Becca's Enchantment Suit, $134 at Dillards.com.
I also like the wildly romantic take on the skirt suit by Kenneth Cole (pictured above in white). This suit comes in several other colors and retails for roughly $120 at Macy's.com.
DKNY's Navy Peony Skirt Suit, $148 at Nordstroms.com is a perfect example of a skirt that's a bit flouncy, but still works due to it's short length and bare top.
For a flirty look, try Betsy Johnson's 'Hello Cupcake' skirt suit. And I can't resist that name! This suit retails for a little over $200 at Nordstroms.com.
Lastly, I also really like the simple nautical striped number from Coco Rave, currently on sale for roughly $70 at Macy's.com. Or Jantzen's simple take on the skirt suit in hot pink, also on sale at Macy's.com for $70.